As Pennsylvania state police continue to investigate why gunman Charles Carl Roberts entered a rural primary school in Pennsylvania’s Amish Country on Monday shooting 11 girls and killing five of them, plus himself, the killer’s wife described her husband as “loving, supportive and thoughtful – all the things you’d always want and more.”
In a statement read by family spokesman Dwight LeFever, Marie Roberts said: “The man that did this today was not the Charlie I’ve been married to for almost 10 years. He was an exceptional father. He took the kids to soccer practice and games, played ball in the backyard and took our 7-year-old daughter shopping. He never said no when I asked him to change a diaper.
She added, “Our hearts are broken, our lives shattered and we grieve for the innocent lives that were lost today. Above all, please pray. Pray for the families who lost children today. Please pray for our family and children.”
During a press conference on Tuesday afternoon police revealed some possible motivation for the shooting by Roberts, a 32-year-old milk tanker driver and father of three who himself was not Amish.
According to police, Roberts did not sexually assault any of his victims, but said that an urge to do so may have driven him to the school. In a phone call from the scene, Roberts told his wife that he had molested two underage family members 20 years ago, police said. He also reportedly wrote in a suicide note that he had dreams of molesting again.
Police said it was “very possible” that Roberts went to the school “to victimize these girls in many ways” before killing them.
Authorities are also looking at whether the death of an infant daughter nine years ago may have played a role in the attack, Pennsylvania state police commissioner Jeffrey Miller told reporters at a news conference Monday.
Armed with guns, knives and 600 rounds of ammunition, Roberts showed up at 10 a.m., after completing his milk route and then carried out his massacre, said Miller. At some point, he called his wife on his cellphone and spoke of a long-ago grudge he intended to even out.
“It is clear to us that he did a great deal of planning, just from the list of materials I just laid out,” said Miller. “It appears as though he intended to prepare for a lengthy siege.”
Miller added: “He came here prepared. It wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment thing. It appears he did a lot of time in planning and intended to harm these kids and intended to harm himself.”
According to the Lancaster (Penn.) Intelligencer Journal newspaper, Roberts was the son of a policeman and was home-schooled. He and his wife married Nov. 9, 1996, and had a daughter about a year later, only the child died shortly after birth.
“He was an excellent family man,” his sobbing mother, Teresa Roberts, said outside her home, reports the paper. “I had no idea anything like this was going to happen.”
Based on the rambling suicide notes to his three children, ages 1 to 7, and phone calls, it was apparent Roberts was “angry at life, he was angry at God,” Miller said at the press conference.